Most people associate winter tree damage to broken limbs from ice overloads and high winds. However, during the winter, the sun still shines brightly, it’s rays can be intense and damage the bark on trees causing sunscald. Sunscald causes vertical cracks on the bark and it occurs mostly on the south and southwest sides of trees.
Sunscald can be prevented by wrapping the trunk in the Fall with a commercial tree wrap, plastic tree guards, or any other light-colored material and removing it in the Spring.
Newly planted trees, young trees, and thin-barked trees (cherry, crabapple, honey locust, linden, maple, mountain ash, and plum) are susceptible to sunscald. Trees that have been pruned at the bottom may also be sensitive because they are and no longer protected by the shade.
Fortunately, in most cases, the tree will grow another layer of bark and it will end up resembling a callous.
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